China Gives U.S. the Cyber-Combat Equivalent of the Bird

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In case you missed it, China just gave us the finger.

Anybody reading the Wall Street Journal last week was probably struck by the news that the Pentagon now considers computer sabotage from another country an act of war, and that the United States might respond with military force.

I was really glad when Battleland’s Mark Thompson was quick to point out the silliness of that Defense Department trial balloon. Thompson nailed it succinctly:

Only three problems with it: the Pentagon doesn’t make these kinds of decisions, finding the perpetrator can be next to impossible, and if you bomb, the target is likely to know who’s doing the bombing. Unfortunately, cyber warfare is a vexing problem that doesn’t always favor a superpower, as I detailed in late 2009.

The Chinese probably didn’t need to read Battleland to figure that out either. Two days after the Journal went with the story on that Pentagon policy that went like this…

The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.

The Journal wrote this…

Google Inc. said Chinese hackers targeted the email accounts of senior U.S. officials and hundreds of other prominent people in a fresh computer attack certain to intensify growing concern about the security of the Internet.

Thompson’s right. The Chinese know it. And while it is certainly conceivable that those two stories are completely unrelated, a lot of smart people think the Chinese just gave us the cyber-combat equivalent of the bird.

You’ve got to hand it to them. They’ve got style. China’s official Communist Party newspaper has even come out with an editorial telling Google to shut their pie hole. It looks like game on.